When you have a support staff workers strike causing a national court shutdown; small schoolchildren running riot, blocking roads and smashing anything in sight, including innocent people’s vehicles in protest of not learning and then taps in the biggest city in the country going dry for three days and executives abandoning offices to scamper for water in the worst of places, then you know that something is broken amidst us and it needs fixing as a matter of urgency.
It seems to me that the leadership at Blantyre Water Board has woken rather too late from its deep sweet slumber to realise that after years of neglect and disrepair, theirs are, after all, machines that need replacement.
The downside to it is that it is too late and the consumers are paying a heavy price. Instead of working and making money, they are on the road looking for water for their families.
Did anyone really think Blantyre’s population would remain the same 50 years after independence that in their wildest of dreams they thought the same dams and aging water plants would do for eternity? Where is the sense of futuristic planning in this country?
As for the Judiciary support staff strike, it appears to me it has become a constant fixture in our calendar just like the teachers going on a slow, forcing small schoolchildren to go on the streets, demanding that their right to education be respected and accorded.
Why someone at the Ministry of Education, OPC, Judiciary or God knows where else, does not do something about it, your guess is as good as mine.
But the result is that suspects are languishing in police cells or remand prisons and they cannot access justice through trials.
This must be a God-send opportunity to Cashgate thieves as it gives them a respite from gruelling court sessions to account for their thievery to the Malawian people.
As for the teachers going more than a month without getting paid, chances are high that the slovenly incompetent fellow at the Ministry of Education or Finance responsible for this mess sends their children to a private school and has little regard for whatever happens to poor people’s children.
But as we have seen this week, the poor people’s children will not take it lying down. They will rebel against what they perceive as an injustice and cause damage to their very same things we consider civilisation and hold dear as a society.
This is a sign of what is to come of the children of the rich who go to school and do well to pick the best opportunities that this country can offer while those of the poor will get sub-standard education and get nothing of the opportunities because someone is not doing their job, widening the gap between the haves and have-nots.
But make no mistake about it, nature will make sure that there is a clash between the two causing a social explosion.
Why all this drift? Quite simple, it shows that whoever delays teachers’ salaries all the time should, during the next time they are in the mood for it, consider the serious ramifications of their actions and the impact on the social engineering of a society we want to have.
As for the leadership of this country, the writing is on the wall that this country needs urgent fixing after years of neglect and disrepair just like the Blantyre Water Board machines.
Patience has a limit and Malawians should not be pushed too far through constant strikes, an economy that is tanking and poor public service delivery. It is too much to swallow at one go.